This morning, after the boys went to school and before Caitlin woke up, I finally took down the Christmas tree. I admit, I had been procrastinating doing this task. It wasn't so much the inconvenience, but the intese emotions wrapped up in it for me. But I bit the bullet and decided to finally just get it done. That, and Kevin's comment that if I didn't hurry it would become a Valentine tree. Smart aleck. ;)
Note to self for next year: When putting on the lights, start at the bottom, go all the way up, then back down again.
Even more important note to self for next year: When taking off the lights, do the same thing: start at the BOTTOM, go up, then back down again.
The process felt significant to me because I was taking down, alone and by myself, the tree that Kevin had been here to help put up. Not only that, but next year I would be putting it up *and* taking it down... alone and by myself. Yes, putting it up next year will involve the children--maybe we'll do something different and get a live tree. But this year, I had to do the taking-down when they were not around, because I could feel what was coming.
Anyway, half way through the process I had boxes and tissue paper everywhere, and had broken only one ornament (and not an important one, thankfully). That's when the wave hit me. I gave myself permission to mourn. To just sit down and cry, and feel all the sadness and grief and loneliness that was trapped inside. To let it come out and wash over me, and express itself fully. This is all part of the journey we are taking, and to squelch it would be to invite numbness and apathy. No, I needed to allow the emotions of it all to carry me for a little while into a place of pain and sorrow, until my sobs turned into prayers and I found the comfort and peace I needed. Then I'm reminded that I am never truly "alone and by myself."
I sometimes wish I could just have one good, long cry, and let that be the end of it. It would be nice not to have to revisit the same sorrow over and over. But that would belie the depth of the relationship, and therefore the sorrow as well. I don't want this blog to end up a morbid journal, depressing to any who happen upon it. But I also need to be true to myself, perhaps to come back for journaling to add to my scrapbooks, to pass on the true "me" to my children; to be transparent with the good and the bad; to record this journey with honesty.
Now, looking around the living room, it looks empty. That is, until Caitlin wakes up and comes downstairs...until the boys come home from school...until next year when we do it all again.